Father Nilus McAllister, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1896-1973)

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Born Frederick McAllister in Providence, Rhode Island on February 24, 1896, he was the youngest son of John and Margaret McAllister’s ten children. He was educated early in life at Tyler School operated by the Sisters of Mercy and then went on to the La Salle Academy operated by the Christian Brothers. In 1914 he went to the Passionist Preparatory College located at St. Joseph’s Monastery, Baltimore, Maryland. On November 11, 1915 he professed his Passionist vows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received the religious name Nilus. Theological studies took place at St. Ann’s Monastery, Scranton, Massachusetts and then St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Brighton, Massachusetts. Ordained on January 21, 1923 in Brighton, he was a member of the first Passionists ordained by Cardinal O’Connell of Boston. Father McAllister’s first assignment was to teach speech and writing at Holy Cross Seminary, Dunkirk, New York. He was more than a teacher, however, and became a sought after preacher throughout the east coast. It was not long before his talents were utilized as preacher for the Passionist laymen retreats. He was retreat director and preacher at St. Gabriel’s Retreat, Brighton; Our Mother of Sorrows Retreat, West Springfield, Massachusetts; and St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, Pittsburgh. Father McAllister was selected as General Chairman of the 1943 National Conference of the Laymen’s Retreat Movement held at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He also taught Sacred Eloquence in the province of St. Paul of the Cross.